Serge et Le Phoque | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤❤❤❤

The Wan Chai wet market would be the last place I'd expect to find a French restaurant, let alone one without any signage at all. Serge et Le Phoque is a casual French restaurant that serves creative and modern French cuisine in a bistro-like environment. Once inside, we were immediately attracted by the wooden furnitures which looked rather unique and custom made. I loved the big circular lamps hanging from the ceiing as well as the floor-to-ceiling windows which let in an ample amount of natural light. The seating configurations were a bit unconventional as we were seated side-by-side against the windows while there were these half circular booths in the middle. We also noticed that they had more private dining area in the back with long tables and benches. 

The 3 courses lunch menu at the restaurant costs $250 per person with no service charge. The host Charles came by to explain each of the dishes to us, especially the main which simply said Fish or Meat on the menu. For our meal that day, the Fish was sole while the Meat was beef. 

After we placed our orders, freshly baked wheat bread was given to us along with butter. We were impressed from the start as the wheat bread was simply the best wheat bread I've ever had! The crust was delectably crunchy while the bread itself was moist, soft and oh so flavorful. I've never been a big fan of wheat bread but I wouldn't mind eating these all day long! Our bread basket was kept replenished throughout our entire meal. The butter was rich and tasty as well with a hint of cheese infused in it. 
We were surprised with the amuse bouche next, which turned out to be a plate of fried white fishes with char-grilled limes. The fishes were nicely fried and appetizing to eat especially with a drizzle of the acidic lime juice. Simply scrumptious!
Tuna Tataki (5/5) - both of the starters we chose were amazing! The tuna tataki was nicely seared while the pairing with the blood orange was superb. The sweetness of the fruit was perfectly balanced by the tartness of the pickled onions and sauce. The toasted sesame seeds were a nice touch as well.  

Cuttlefish (5/5) - the menu had stated that the cuttlefish will come with spinach, but my dish came out differently with iberico ham and hazlehuts on top instead. I guess the chef decided to change things up in the kitchen. It didn't bother me one bit as the cuttlefish was cooked to perfection with a soft and chewy texture. The mustard sauce provided the extra zing in the delightful flavors of this dish. 
Sole (4/5) - the mains were a bit disappointing compared to the impressive starters though. While the sole fish was tender and flaky, the flavors weren't striking at all. It was a solid dish overall but just not that memorable. The only thing that stood out was the creamy sauce made with the eggs of the fish, which was quite delish actually. 

Beef (3.5/5) - the presentation of this dish was awe-inspiring with the stark contrasting colors and the off-center placement. It was an interesting choice to pair the beef with fresh enoki mushrooms, seaweed, and dried shrimps which made it seem more like a Japanese dish. Too bad the beef was just really tough and chewy to eat. I did like the different textures of the sides though. 
Beetroot Sorbet (4/5) -  I was really looking forward to the desserts and they did not disappoint! The beetroot sorbet came drizzled with caramel and cardamom inside. While the sorbet was a bit sour for my taste, the flavors were definitely stimulating and refreshing for the tastebuds.

Dacquoise (5/5) - I love this dessert! It was like a bigger version of macaron filled with vanilla cream and nougatine inside. The shell was perfectly chewy while the crunchy caramel bits of the nougatine were splendid as well. 
Verdict - the food at Serge et Le Phoque was thoroughly impressive with its creative flavors and gorgeous presentations. It was a delight for both the eyes and the mouth! For lunch, I didn't find the portions to be a problem as I was quite stuffed from my meal. The service was attentive and adequate as well, though I did feel that the dishes came out a bit slower than I would have liked. But hey, it's part of the French experience right?

Serge et Le Phoque
Shop B2, G/F., Tower 1, The Zenith, 3 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai
5465 2000 

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